appeal from the Circuit Court for Leon County.William L.
Thomas, Public Defender, Archie F. Gardner and Glen P.
Gifford, Assistant Public Defenders, Tallahassee, for
Moody, Attorney General, Amanda D. Stokes, Assistant Attorney
General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Appellant argues that the trial court erred when it excluded
testimony of a defense witness who was familiar with the
victims unusual sexual conduct and advanced sexual
knowledge. Appellant was charged with one count of sexual
battery on a person less than twelve years of age by a person
over eighteen years of age.
victim testified that one night when Appellant was visiting
her mother, he stopped her in the hallway as she was going
into her brothers room. Appellant accompanied the victim
into her brothers room, made the victim get on top of him,
and had her perform oral sex.
trial, the victims prior sexual knowledge and experience was
at issue. The victim admitted on direct examination and cross
examination that she had previously watched videos of adults
having sex. She testified that her sister watched sex videos
and that her uncle showed her sexual pictures on his phone.
She also testified that she had seen her mother have sex
defense proffered a witness who had prior experience
interviewing the victim. The State objected, arguing that the
prior examination of the victim was irrelevant because it
occurred three to four years before the present incident. The
witness testified that she became familiar with the victim as
the result of an investigation by the Department of Children
and Families. There were concerns with the victim rubbing
herself in a sexual manner and engaging in inappropriate
sexual behavior at school. The victim was able to describe
sexual scenes in videos and testified about
"humping" with two of her cousins. The witness
called the victims familiarity with sexual activity very
surprising for her age.
trial court granted the States motion to exclude the defense
witnesss testimony. The court determined that the
information was remote in time and was irrelevant to the
current charge against the defendant. The jury found
Appellant guilty as charged and he was sentenced to life in
apply a deferential standard of review to a trial courts
ruling admitting or excluding evidence, unless the ruling was
based on an interpretation of a rule of law:
As a general rule, a trial courts ruling on the
admissibility of evidence will not be reversed, absent an
abuse of discretion. Globe v. State, 877 So.2d 663,
673 (Fla.2004); Russ v. State, 832 So.2d 901, 910
(Fla. 1st DCA 2002). However, a courts discretion is limited
by the evidence code and applicable case law. A courts
erroneous interpretation of these authorities is subject to
de novo review. Gilliam v. Smart, 809 So.2d
905 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002).
McCray v. State,
919 So.2d 647, 649 (Fla. 1st DCA